Russia lists terms for higher trade relations with Nigeria

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The Russian government on Monday said its trade volume with Nigeria presently stood at $600m because Russia is also an oil producing nation.

The Deputy Head of Mission, Russia Embassy, Valery Shaposhnikov, gave the explanation during a joint press conference with the Nigeria – Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Abuja founded and chaired by businessman, Dr Obiora Okonkwo.

According to him, the trade volume with Nigeria would increase with the buying of agricultural produce from the country by Russia.

Shaposhnikov said more Russian companies were willing to buy Nigerian products provided they meet international standards.

He said, “The trade volume is not based on oil transaction; we are not buying oil from Nigeria. When we talk about trade volumes with other countries, practically all these volumes are based on oil transactions – buying and selling oil products and oil.

“In our case, the situation is healthier. There is no oil transaction. We are supplying to Nigeria fertilizers, wheat, machineries and we are buying some products from agriculture but maybe not so much as you would like to see as not so much as we will like to buy.

“But the products you are selling should be good and meet international standards and when it is done, the volume will be rising.

“Some companies in Russia are interested in buying agricultural produce here in Nigeria. So, we want companies here to produce more high standard products and also to provide that these products meet international standards.

“As soon as that is done, the volume of trade may be higher.”

Okonkwo, Zenith Labour Party candidate in the November 6 forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, said the N-RCCI would enable Nigeria to explore business relations with Russia and promote economic growth, technology transfer, development and also foster better understanding for both countries.

He said, “We are happy that a new foundation has been laid and we can only work to reap the benefits.

“The principal objectives of N-RCCI is to promote commerce, industry, trade and ancillary services; foster, advance and protect commercial, industrial, trade and professional enterprises and, without limitation, other activities and business undertakings of all kinds in the locality and elsewhere.”

In a related development, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that with mutual diplomatic relations between Russia and Nigeria since the 1960s, the formal inauguration of a Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry will consolidate efforts made to deepen the long-lasting relationship and invigorate business opportunities.

Osinbajo said this on Monday when he received a delegation of the Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its president, Obiora Okonkwo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘New Nigeria-Russia chamber of commerce, opportunity to consolidate trade, business – Osinbajo’.

The delegation also included representation from the Russian government, including a special envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Oleg Ozerov, and the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshim.

The Vice President was quoted to have said, “After a very extensive period of collaboration between our countries, frankly, I was quite surprised that we don’t already have a Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I assumed that such a body already existed.

“It is never too late to do a good thing. This is an auspicious time to do so, especially given all of the economic opportunities before us.”

Referring to a previous meeting of African leaders and Russian business executives in 2019, Osinbajo noted that the interaction was an excellent introduction to serious business for African countries with Russia.

He said, “There have been very many economic and social engagements, especially in education. I think also that there have been several economic relationships that have blossomed for a while and several other business and commercial opportunities that are opening up here and there.

“But I think there is a need to formalise and to have a channel such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. There is a need for that to happen so that we are better able to build upon what has taken place in the years gone by. This is a very unique opportunity for us to do really good work and to strengthen relations between our countries.”

The leader of the delegation, Okonkwo, said the visit of the Russian delegation to the country and the courtesy call on the VP was a prelude to the formal inauguration of the Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

SOURCE: PUNCH

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